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National Parks 2014

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California, USA
I started to rock climb outside this year. Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne meadows can be climbed in 5 pitches. This is the view from the top.
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Happy Isles, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
Despite being steep, often wet, and sometimes dangerous, the Mist Trail is Yosemite’s hallmark hike, with breathtaking views of the valley and two waterfalls. Be warned, though, that it’s called the Mist Trail for a reason: Much of the...
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1 Ahwahnee Drive, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389, USA
Formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel, this stone-and-timber lodge—arguably the finest example of U.S. “Parkitecture”—has hosted such luminaries as John F. Kennedy, the queen of Nepal, Lucille Ball, and Brad Pitt. Its grand public...
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Mariposa Grove, California 93623, USA
My husband and I enjoyed a pleasant hike among the sequoias and pines at Mariposa Grove in the southern portion of Yosemite. Head out early to avoid the crowds who hit this popular spot to see the 2,700-year-old Grizzly Giant sequoia in the Lower...
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Glacier Point Rd, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
Located 3,200 feet above Half Dome Village, Glacier Point offers some of the best views in the park to the high country beyond. The View Terrace looks out to Half Dome, Vernal Fall, and Nevada Fall as well as Liberty Cap to the east, while the...
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Yosemite Valley, California, USA
This eight-mile-long, one-mile-wide valley, sliced down the middle by the Merced River, is the heart of Yosemite and by far the most-visited area of the park. Of the three entrances to the valley, none affords a more spectacular first view than...
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Yosemite Village, CA 95389, USA
Driving into Yosemite national park is like entering the garden of Eden.
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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Mirror Lake, California, USA
I remember every year as a little girl taking annual camping trips during the summer to Yosemite National Park, CA. We would walk the trail up to Mirror Lake and have picnics. So as a mom, I wanted to share these fond memories with my children....
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Hard to definitely pinpoint on a map, the Wave is a gorgeous rock formation near the Arizona and Utah part of the Coyote Buttes, in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Don't rush off there expecting to just show up and visit, as this...
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Coyote Buttes, Arizona 86036, USA
The rock formations in this area of South Coyote Buttes and amazing. The series of fins facing every direction will blow your mind. There is so much to photograph here!
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White Pocket, Arizona 86036, USA
Didn't get your permit to see The Wave? Have no fear. You can have the same experience (some say better) at White Pocket, part of South Coyote Buttes. Although you do need a permit, you don't need to win the lottery to do it and the experience is...
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78-6772 Makenawai St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
For a rare and wonderfully crafted chocolate experience on the Big Island, visitors who book a tour of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Farm will learn about the chocolate making process from growing and harvesting to packaging. Only offered on...
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Waipio Valley, Hawaii 96727, USA
Seeing the Big Island by air will have you sitting on the edge your seat anticipating what will turn up around the next mountain or valley. Waipio Valley, one of the most beautiful areas on the Island, is best seen from the air to really get a...
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88-2636 Papa Homestead Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704, USA
For a different view of coffee, visit the Big Island in February and March when the coffee plants are blossoming in white. Called Kona "snow" by some, the plants are covered with the beautiful white flowers that precede the arrival of the valuable...
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Kalapana - Kapoho Rd, Pāhoa, HI 96778, USA
Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. Her power still holds the imagination of people in Hawaii today as legends suggest that taking rocks from her home on the island of Hawaii will lead to bad luck. She is said to...
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Kīlauea Crater, Hawaii 96778, USA
The highlight of Volcanoes National Park is the Kilauea Crater. Nothing beats seeing the glow from the active crater at night—well, maybe the prospect of seeing a new explosive eruption. There are a couple of other lava flow viewing areas in the...
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Volcano, HI, USA
Why I was so surprised to find a food truck in the village of Volcano outside of Volcano National Park, I'm not sure. All I know is that it was one of the many culinary surprises on the Big Island. This truck was packed with all kinds of wonderful...
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Hawaii 96718, USA
For those seeking an education about the Hawaiian volcanoes, the Volcanoes National Park Visitors Center and Jaggar Museum have helpful staff and interesting visuals and maps. Visitors can see before and after photos, see maps of volcanic activity...
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Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii 96778, USA
There are numerous sites to explore within Volcanoes National Park, but the Thurston Lava Tube is certainly one of the most dramatic. Located at stop #6, exploring the tube is an easy half-hour walk to and through the extinct lava conduit.
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We stayed in Hilo—hot, wet, and tropical Hilo—in a rented, Japanese-style house. Since I'm an astronomy nerd, I had to take the tour up to the observatories on Mauna Kea—way up on the top of the Big Island. The van trip was fun and educational,...